By Bill Ivey
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Additional resources for Arts, Inc.: How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights
This new notion of cultural rights, drafted by committee and advanced, not by a government, but by a multinational organization, represented a signiﬁcant expansion of the scope and intent of human rights. For one thing, groups as well as individuals were assumed to possess cultural rights. More important, these “rights” advanced through international conventions were framed in a new way—not as constraints on government authority, but instead as demands for greater community and individual authority in an area of human experience: culture.
The advance of cultural rights in a global context has exhibited a distinct character, one that doesn’t speak to the American experience. After all, in France, China, and Germany, and in many former colonies of European powers, culture is “normative”—a standard against which authentic citizenship can be measured. ” France already requires foreigners seeking residency to sign a pledge promising to respect French values, and new conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed the creation of a Ministry of Immigration and National Identity.
As Lawrence Levine, Paul DiMaggio, and others have pointed out, by 1900 the ﬁne arts had become closely aligned with the social aspirations of philanthropically able, big-city ﬁnancial elites. In his landmark study of cultural entrepreneurship in Boston, DiMaggio observes that as early as 1890 the city was home to four hundred millionaires. ” It was everywhere assumed that classical music and the other ﬁne arts possessed unique social value. However, during most of the nineteenth century high art functioned cheek-by-jowl with rough-and-tumble entertainment.